December 10th, 2013
Barbara Rielly is a heritage researcher and volunteer at Goulbourn Museum. While recording the materials and makers of our artefacts she has discovered a host of hidden treasures in our collection. This is her account of one such find.
By Barbara Rielly
It isn’t often that we museum types get to meet genuine, bona fide stars. But those of us lucky enough to have spent much time with this fine lady know that we have indeed had our brush with fame. Star of stage and screen, the inspiration and subject of more than 40 books our fair lady has thrilled generations. At its height, her fame and power was such that companies went into legal battle over her, she was the spokesperson for activists and provided the pattern which many a mother followed. Her beauty is such that she needs no further introduction, ladies and gentleman I present to you RAGGEDY ANN!
Raggedy Ann has been the beloved friend to little girls since her creation in 1915. A series of books featuring Ann and her brother Raggedy Andy soon followed and continued to be produced right up until 1977. With over 40 titles in print, these books are still available today. Raggedy Ann dolls are still in production though the manufacturers have changed over the years. There were a number of patterns out there that mothers and their daughters could use to make Ann themselves and it is one of these dolls that we have here at Goulbourn Museum. Our Raggedy Ann has outrageously long carrot coloured hair and her matching orange outfit has a floral decorative band that is hand drawn as are her features. It is likely that our Ann was made in the 1970s or 1980s when Raggedy Ann had her triumphant comeback tour complete with her own comic book, a Broadway musical, and two television specials. Raggedy Ann had her own museum for many years and was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2002. Click HERE to learn more about Raggedy Ann and her exploits.
I have to admit it has been fun checking out the doll collection at Goulbourn Museum in no small part because it brings back memories. Play is one of the great things about being a kid and dolls were something with which most children would have played. It’s only in recent years that kids have multiple dolls to play with so we can be sure that Ann would for most of her life have been the beloved ‘only doll’ in a child’s life. It is not hard to picture our Ann propped in a chair waiting for her little girl to get home from school.
I remember Raggedy Ann’s massive popularity in the 1970s and had several friends with Anns similar to she who waits at Goulbourn Museum. Given Raggedy Ann has been around for almost a century now, and that there is a new line of plush Raggedy Ann and Andys coming out, we can expect to see her around for a while yet.